Problems getting a diagnosis from your doctor?

Posted by tyrless @tyrless, Aug 16, 2018

I just can't seem to get a doctor to give me a straight answer on the condition of my body. One doctor, over a year ago, told me that I had scoliosis. My new medicare doctor says no, just age-related degeneration in my lower spine. I am so very frustrated with not only this, but with getting help with female problems as well. Is it just because I'm older now and we really just don't matter anymore?

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Hello,@tyrless, good afternoon to you! At least, it is afternoon here in the Southern USA. It is hot and oppressive here at times, but not too bad today. I hope you are having a good day today. From what I have just read, it seems as though you are having great difficulty in finding a good fit in the doctor category. May I ask a few questions? Are you near a Mayo Clinic Center? If you are not, is there a good, reliable hospital system near you? Would you be able to get to one of our Mayo Clinic campuses ?
I have discovered that there are indeed a very few doctors who probably should have chosen chicken farming rather than pursue medicine. I'm fairly certain you do not have the attitudes I used to have when I could not get along with very many doctors. My husband could tell you how awful I was. I had to learn the hard way how to get through the murky mess of finding a doctor who had the smarts to take care of me, and still listened to me as a patient who knows her own body.
When one is in pain and no one offers support or any direction, when there don't seem to be any professional folks who have my best interest at heart, then it is time to bring out the big guns. What are the big guns, you ask? I will tell you. This is what worked for me. Now, it might not work for you, but it does work for a lot of people. Get educated about your symptoms. No, you won't end up knowing everything a doctor does, because that is why they go to medical school. To figure out what is wrong with us.

The next thing we have to do for ourselves is network. Talk to our trusted friends and loved ones about the problem. Usually, someone knows someone who had this or that symptom and went to see this doctor and yes, they take our particular insurance. Yes they are accepting new patients. So, why not give it a shot? Ok, good.

Now, you are getting ready for your appointment. Wear something you feel good about wearing. Fix your hair, and put a smile on your beautiful face. It doesn't matter if you are older. You are a treasure, and you have people who love you. Think about how you would want your best friend treated. You go there and you tell your precious brain that these people WANT to help you get better. From the office manager, to the nurse who takes you back and asks why are you here today? Here you go, girl, it's your time to shine. You have only so many minutes to show them your neatly printed out medication list, have your vitals taken, and tell them what you hope will happen with this visit. This is very important,trust me. She will write down what you say. But she will be short and sweet. Don't expect a long conversation cos she has to get to the next patient.

You will wait in the room for a bit longer. Until this awesome doctor who is overbooked and already behind today because of two patients who had lengthy complications to deal with. Then you hear him approaching the door to the room. He stops and takes a brief look at your chart. He is wanting to hear a brief but complete synopsis of your journey with these conditions. What worked, what didnt, what tests have been done, what the interpretations have been. The more information that you give her in a consise, respectful way, the quicker

, the easier it will be for her to recommend the appropriate tests. This is so important. Don't leave without her knowing how these conditions have affected your quality of life. And your hopes that with an accurate diagnosis, you can recover at least part of your life. As much as pissinle, really.
All this lets them know that you are an active participant in getting better, no matter how old or how sick you are. Yres, there are some doctors who are hesitant to take on such a challenge. I am that girl. I am that patient

who has so many conditions, any one of which could derail me. But every one of my doctor's knows I am a fighter and I don't give up. You might be the perfect patient. I wasn't, for a long time. I even withheld information because I already had too many "labels."

Give it a try? Once you get the hang of it you can actually enjoy doctors appointments. Be your own advocate. Respect their time limitations but don't let that stop you from telling your story. You are worth it. I highly recommend Mayo Clinic. They have a long history of success. More power to you! Love and light,


Well-said, Mamacita! And, I will add my strong recommendation to try to look for medical help at the nearest Mayo Clinic. You do not need a referral….you can call and ask for an appointment. Best of luck to You!


I would seek out a spine surgeon, to get a definitive diagnosis .


I would seek out a spine surgeon, to get a definitive diagnosis .

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@wdb1210, I thought this discussion might be interested in some good advice I received from the best Personal Care Physician I have had, among more than a dozen in recent years: "Go see a surgeon and ask for a diagnosis if you are convinced that you need surgery AND if a PCP you trust recommends it."

@tyrless, I understand your suspicions that Medicare practitioners often discourage expensive treatment for aging patients, but as an 83-year-old patient, I can say that those suspicions are almost always unwarranted. Over the past 30 years, I have been treated by two dozen physicians/specialists and only one acted as though he would brush me off because of my age. In my 18 years under Medicare, I have never had to deal with an unwilling doctor, although in several cases I had to deal with a doctor who was not equipped to deal with geriatric issues, so I diplomatically changed doctors. Do you have a PCP who takes the time to talk to you about your medical concerns, orders necessary tests, and explains any they are important and what they will tell you?

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